November 19, 2013
The new online Stories of the Staff project celebrates the contributions of U-M staff members, current and past, to the history of the university.
An initiative of Voices of the Staff in collaboration with University Human Resources, Stories of the Staff honors the university’s upcoming bicentennial by providing a venue for storytelling about staff members who have helped make U-M the great American public university it is today.
The Stories of the Staff website includes stories and images depicting staff members from the 1800s to the present — ranging from custodians to costume designers, midwives, executives and change leaders throughout the university.
Visitors to the site will be able to submit their own stories, photographs and video about staff members whose work at U-M helped make a difference in fulfilling the university’s teaching, research, patient care and service missions. The site will be updated with many of these audience-supplied stories as the university approaches its bicentennial in 2017.
The Stories of the Staff website features dozens of stories about contributions made by U-M staff members throughout the university's history.
Among the stories currently featured on the website are:
• A look at the staff members who have contributed to the Central Power Plant’s hundred-year history.
• The men and women of the 298th General Army Hospital Unit who spent 36 months caring for more than 43,000 wounded soldiers during World War II.
• Profiles of U-M custodians from the 1800s to the present, including Gregor “Doc” Nagele, a janitor from 1849-1900 whose particular specialty was commandeering cadavers for medical students’ research, and John W. Barfield, a custodian from 1949-55, who turned a knowledge of how to clean toilets into a billion-dollar business.
• Tendaji Ganges, UM-Flint director of educational opportunity initiatives, whose passionate intensity fires up students, giving them the courage to engage and flourish.
• Ismael Ahmed, UM-Dearborn associate provost for metropolitan impact, whose activist passions led him from Dearborn to Michigan’s Department of Human Services and back.
• Father and son bookbinders, George and James Craven.
• Health professionals Doug Armstrong and Mary Buschell, whose extraordinary dedication has made it possible for sick children to enjoy the pleasures of summer camp.
Suggestions received from VOICES’ members, U-M historians, archivists at the Bentley Historical Library, and others, were instrumental in identifying the stories featured on the website.
Stories were selected for development based on longevity of service, multigenerational service, service to the university and/or external community, military service, contribution to the arts, innovation, leadership, generosity/compassion, reflections provided by a family member and other significant accomplishments, contributions or service.
Other features of the website are a photo gallery, an interactive timeline highlighting significant events in U-M history cross-referenced to selected staff stories, the ability to share stories via social media, and links to key U-M history resources.